Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Motives of Motivation

As the riding improved, so did the bike. Weaknesses were addressed, special cylinder heads from the UK were purchased to solve the cracking issues, a very expensive aftermarket ignition eliminated the need for a battery and a Yamaha chassis modified to take the Suzuki T500 engine helped in the handling department. Cubic dollars were spent.

Spent chasing what exactly? The second question people ask me when they find out I race motorcycles is: "Do you make any money doing that?" (the first always is, 'Oh you race dirtbikes, motorcross?'). My short answer to both of these is no. It is very hard for even the best of the best in this country to make money road racing, let alone an aging slacker trying to live out his fantasies on obsolete machinery. So why then?

You put yourself in this chosen arena and on the best of days you bust your ass to do it, on the worst days, well let's just say it brings grown men to tears. There are not many thank-yous for participation, no throng of adoring fans, no big cash purses handed out or lucrative contracts signed. And yet we continue in spite of those things, often to the chagrin of loved ones, because to not do it leaves a hole in you.

Competition. Love of the sport. The desire to test one's mettle. The catchphrases fall short of the indelible mark this thing leaves on the racer's soul. Made all the more perfect by the utter lack of understanding from the general populace. A pure and private thing remains the impetus. Why do we do it? Because we have to.

Kris Larrivee, Ralf Scholtes (RIP) and another racer battle it out

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